19 research outputs found

    Failure or progress?: The current state of the professionalisation of midwifery in Europe

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    INTRODUCTION Throughout Europe midwives called for increasing professionalisation of midwifery during the 1980s and 1990s. While the Bologna Declaration, in 1999, supported this development in education and research, it remains unclear how other fields, such as practice, have fared so far. This study therefore aimed to explore the current state of professionalisation of midwifery in Europe. METHODS An exploratory inquiry was conducted with an on-line semi- structured questionnaire. Its content was based on the Greenwood sociological criteria for a profession. Descriptive statistics and thematic content analysis were used to analyse the data. Participants were national delegates from member countries to the European Midwives Association. RESULTS Delegates from 29 European countries took part. In most countries, progress towards professionalisation of midwifery has been made through the move of education into higher education, coupled with opportunities for postgraduate education and research. Lack of progress was noted, in particular in regard to midwifery practice, regulation, and leadership in health care provision and education. Most countries had a code of ethics for midwives as well as a midwifery association. Based on organisational collaborations with other disciplines, the sustainability of a distinct professional culture was unclear. An increased focus on future development of midwifery practice was proposed. CONCLUSIONS Progress in midwifery education and research has taken place. However, midwives’ current roles in practice as well as leadership and their influence on healthcare culture and politics are matters of concern. Future efforts for advancing professionalisation in Europe should focus on the challenges in these areas

    Optimal settings for childbirth.

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    Many studies highlight how health is influenced by the settings in which people live, work, and receive health care. In particular, the setting in which childbirth takes place is highly influential. The physiological processes of women's labor and birth are enhanced in optimal ("salutogenic," or health promoting) environments. Settings can also make a difference in the way maternity staff practice. This paper focuses on how positive examples of Italian birth places incorporate principles of healthy settings. The "Margherita" Birth Center in Florence and the Maternity Home "Il Nido" in Bologna were purposively selected as cases where the physical-environmental setting seemed to reflect an embedded model of care that promotes health in the context of childbirth. Narrative accounts of the project design were collected from lead professional and direct inspections performed to elicit the key salutogenic components of the physical layout. Comparisons between cases with a standard hospital labor ward layout were performed. Cross-case similarities emerged. The physical characteristics mostly related to optimal settings were a result of collaborative design decisions with stakeholders and users, and the resulting local intention to maximize safe physiological birth, psychosocial wellbeing, facilitate movement and relaxation, prioritize space for privacy, intimacy, and favor human contact and relationships. The key elements identified in this paper have the potential to inform further investigations for the design or renovation of all birth places (including hospitals) in order to optimize the salutogenic component of any setting in any country

    Optimal outcomes and women's positive pregnancy experience: a comparison between the World Health Organization guideline and recommendations in European national antenatal care guidelines.

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    BACKGROUND: The publication of the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on antenatal care in 2016 introduced the perspective of women as a necessary component of clinical guidelines in maternity care. WHO highlights the crucial role played by evidence-based recommendations in promoting and supporting normal birth processes and a positive experience of pregnancy. This paper aims to explore and critically appraise recommendations of national antenatal care guidelines across European countries in comparison with the WHO guideline. METHODS: We collected guidelines from country partners of the EU COST Action IS1405. Components of the documents structure and main recommendations within and between them were compared and contrasted with the WHO guideline on antenatal care with a particular interest in exploring whether and how women's experience was included in the recommendations. RESULTS: Eight out of eleven countries had a single national guideline on antenatal care while three countries did not. National guidelines mostly focused on care of healthy women with a straightforward pregnancy. The level of concordance between the national and the WHO recommendations varied along a continuum from almost total concordance to almost total dissonance. Women's views and experiences were accounted for in some guidelines, but mostly not placed at the same level of importance as clinical items. CONCLUSIONS: Findings outline convergences and divergences with the WHO recommendations. They highlight the need for considering women's views more in the development of evidence-based recommendations and in practice for positive impacts on perinatal health at a global level, and on the experiences of each family

    Relation between Epidural Analgesia and severe perineal laceration in childbearing women in Catalonia

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    Our objectives were to study the association between epidural analgesia and risk of severe perineal laceration (SPL), and identify additional risk factors for SPL. This multicentre study consisted of an analysis of data from the MidconBirth Phase I Database, on the use of EA and perineal results during childbirth. (World Health Organization, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, 2016: http://apps.who.int/trialsearch/Trial2.aspx?TrialID=ISRCTN17833269). We conducted a prospective study of pregnant women at term between July 2016 and July 2017 in 30 public maternity hospitals in Catalonia, Spain. Inclusion criteria were an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy, in cephalic presentation and vaginal birth. Data was analysed separately for instrumental births and spontaneous vaginal births, as the former is more frequently associated with episiotomy and more perineal lacerations. Risk factors as well as protective factors in each cohort of women (instrumental and spontaneous vaginal birth), were identified. Multivariate logistic regression model was performed to study the association between epidural analgesia and SPL to identify potential confounders. Odds ratios (OR), using 95% confidence intervals (CI) were constructed. During the study period, 5497 eligible women gave birth, 77.46% of them received epidural analgesia. SPL occurred in 1.63% of births. The univariate analysis showed births with epidural analgesia had significantly higher rates of inductions, augmentation of labour, lithotomy position for birth and episiotomy. However, this association disappeared when the variable "type of vaginal birth" was introduced. In multivariate logistic regression, nulliparity was the major predictor for SPL (OR: 0.17; CI 95%: 0.08-0.34, p: 0.000). Epidural analgesia was not associated with SPL once confounding factors were included. Other interesting factors associated with SPL were identified. This paper identifies important practice areas which contribute to SPL and which have the potential to be rectified. It offers evidence on the role that EA plays on pelvic floor injuries and it adds to existing evidence about the disadvantages of using the lithotomy position for birth, especially in relation to SPL. It highlights the need for practice change in Catalonia from what can be considered a medical model of care to one more aligned with the midwifery philosophy of care through the development of clinical guidelines. It also signals the need to provide women with evidence base upon which to make informed choices on the use of EA, specifically in relation to SPL. [Abstract copyright: Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Assessing the performance of maternity care in Europe: A critical exploration of tools and indicators

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    Background: This paper critically reviews published tools and indicators currently used to measure maternity care performance within Europe, focusing particularly on whether and how current approaches enable systematic appraisal of processes of minimal (or non-) intervention in support of physiological or "normal birth". The work formed part of COST Actions IS0907: "Childbirth Cultures, Concerns, and Consequences: Creating a dynamic EU framework for optimal maternity care" (2011-2014) and IS1405: Building Intrapartum Research Through Health - an interdisciplinary whole system approach to understanding and contextualising physiological labour and birth (BIRTH) (2014-). The Actions included the sharing of country experiences with the aim of promoting salutogenic approaches to maternity care. Methods: A structured literature search was conducted of material published between 2005 and 2013, incorporating research databases, published documents in english in peer-reviewed international journals and indicator databases which measured aspects of health care at a national and pan-national level. Given its emergence from two COST Actions the work, inevitably, focused on Europe, but findings may be relevant to other countries and regions. Results: A total of 388 indicators were identified, as well as seven tools specifically designed for capturing aspects of maternity care. Intrapartum care was the most frequently measured feature, through the application of process and outcome indicators. Postnatal and neonatal care of mother and baby were the least appraised areas. An over-riding focus on the quantification of technical intervention and adverse or undesirable outcomes was identified. Vaginal birth (no instruments) was occasionally cited as an indicator; besides this measurement few of the 388 indicators were found to be assessing non-intervention or "good" or positive outcomes more generally. Conclusions: The tools and indicators identified largely enable measurement of technical interventions and undesirable health (or pathological medical) outcomes. A physiological birth generally necessitates few, or no, interventions, yet most of the indicators presently applied fail to capture (a) this phenomenon, and (b) the relationship between different forms and processes of care, mode of birth and good or positive outcomes. A need was identified for indicators which capture non-intervention, reflecting the reality that most births are low-risk, requiring few, if any, technical medical procedures

    Student midwives' perceptions on the organisation of maternity care and alternative maternity care models in the Netherlands - a qualitative study

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    BACKGROUND: A major change in the organisation of maternity care in the Netherlands is under consideration, going from an echelon system where midwives provide primary care in the community and refer to obstetricians for secondary and tertiary care, to a more integrated maternity care system involving midwives and obstetricians at all care levels. Student midwives are the future maternity care providers and they may be entering into a changing maternity care system, so inclusion of their views in the discussion is relevant. This study aimed to explore student midwives' perceptions on the current organisation of maternity care and alternative maternity care models, including integrated care. METHODS: This qualitative study was based on the interpretivist/constructivist paradigm, using a grounded theory design. Interviews and focus groups with 18 female final year student midwives of the Midwifery Academy Amsterdam Groningen (AVAG) were held on the basis of a topic list, then later transcribed, coded and analysed. RESULTS: Students felt that inevitably there will be a change in the organisation of maternity care, and they were open to change. Participants indicated that good collaboration between professions, including a shared system of maternity notes and guidelines, and mutual trust and respect were important aspects of any alternative model. The students indicated that client-centered care and the safeguarding of the physiological, normalcy approach to pregnancy and birth should be maintained in any alternative model. Students expressed worries that the role of midwives in intrapartum care could become redundant, and thus they are motivated to take on new roles and competencies, so they can ensure their own role in intrapartum care. CONCLUSIONS: Final year student midwives recognise that change in the organisation of maternity care is inevitable and have an open attitude towards changes if they include good collaboration, client-centred care and safeguards for normal physiological birth. The graduating midwives are motivated to undertake an expanded intrapartum skill set. It can be important to involve students' views in the discussion, because they are the future maternity care providers. (aut. ref.